October 2011 Archives

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As Dry Creek Vineyard's Wine Club Administrator, this is a question I am asked at least two to three times a week. My usual response is: "It's going well, the grapes are coming in and the juice is happily fermenting in their respective tanks and barrels."  After answering the same way for several weeks, Click photo to enlarge!I exchanged my business attire and my comfortable climate controlled office for what I like to call my "grubby" clothes and the outside.

On Wednesday morning the cellar crew did not hesitate to put me right to work. I started my morning assisting our interns with pumpovers, which is the process used to circulate the juice to increase the flavor and color in our fabulous wines.  Then I got my hands dirty clearing the sump (a strainer used to keep the wine and skins away from each other) of the skins and seeds. After pumpovers, I spent the rest of the morning cleaning the floors of all the runaway grapes and miscellaneous debris.

The afternoon brought in a large load of grapes from the Rafanelli Vineyards and I was summoned by the Cellar Master to carry a load of dry ice to the top of the tank to give our new grapes some much needed CO2.

Finally, I was tasked with rehydrating yeast for one of our tanks. The yeast smelled like fresh bread right out of the oven. Feeding the yeast was an entirely different experience. While taking some wine from the large tank, instead of closing the valve, I opened it all the way and was sprayed from the head down with freshly pressed Zinfandel.  Needless to say, I did not go home as clean as I had arrived!

It was definitely a learning experience and I am glad to have a better understanding of what Harvest entails. I also have a much deeper respect for all of the hard work our cellar crew goes through to produce our fabulous wines. Now, back to what I do best; providing assistance to our club members in my nice clean and comfy office. I can honestly say that I am more than prepared to talk about how Harvest is going. I await your calls!

Salina Littleton, Wine Club Administrator

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It's early October here in wine country and today feels more like mid-January.  The cloud deck is low, clinging to the hillsides around the Dry Creek Valley like a smoky fog.  The weather, once again, is proving to beClick photo to enlarge unpredictable.  Just a few short days ago, we were experiencing a beautiful Indian summer here in wine country.  But now, it seems that overnight we've gone from fall to winter.  Winemakers and vineyard managers are not happy.  

Harvest-wise, we are just about 60% finished.  All of our Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc has come in.  And with the exception of one vineyard, the Sauvignon Blanc is safely resting in tanks going through fermentation.  Zinfandel is getting close, but we do have a few key vineyards still waiting to be picked.  The Bordeaux varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and others are still hanging on the vine.  With this cool, rainy weather settling in, it appears that harvest will stall yet again until sunshine and warmer weather arrives.

Rain during this time of year is not unusual. The storm forecast to come in tonight is strong for this time of year, but should move quickly out of the area by tomorrow afternoon.  With some breezy post-storm conditions, we should get enough drying in the vineyard so that any potential for rot is minimized.  

Once again, all of us that live and breathe the harvest season are at the mercy of Mother Nature.  Sometimes, it's so easy to forget that we are in the business of farming and having to take the good with the bad is just the nature of the beast.  Somehow, though, we always figure a way through and come out with great wines on the other end.  I can tell you though, most winemakers are hoping next year's weather returns to normal because three straight years of freaky weather is enough already!

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2011 is the previous archive.

November 2011 is the next archive.

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